Metra officials said they have to modify the schedule to implement a federally mandated safety system that requires a longer turnaround time when a train finishes its run.
The new schedule goes into effect June 11.
Instead of the four trains that run express from downtown Hinsdale to Chicago between 6:45 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., there will be only one. That train that will stop in Clarendon Hills at 6:39 a.m., West Hinsdale at 6:41 a.m., downtown Hinsdale at 6:45 a.m., and then run express, arriving at Union Station at 7:08 a.m.
Two other trains in that time period, however, will make only one stop between Hinsdale and Union Station.
A train will stop in Clarendon Hills at 7:44 a.m., the West Hinsdale station at 7:47 a.m., downtown Hinsdale at 7:51 a.m., then stop in Western Springs at 7:55 a.m. before continuing non-stop with a scheduled arrival at Union Station at 8:16 a.m.
Similarly, there’ll be a train that stops in Clarendon Hills at 8:09 a.m., the West Hinsdale station at 8:12 a.m., downtown Hinsdale at 8:16 a.m. and then makes only one stop, this time at La Grange Road at 8:21 a.m., before arriving at Union Station at 8:40 a.m.
Metra had proposed that those two trains stop at both Western Springs and La Grange Road.
After proposing changes to the schedule in mid-March, Metra asked for public input by April 15. More than 2,000 people emailed the agency, Metra officials said, and based on their comments they made changes where possible.
For example, the proposed changes had meant no trains would stop at Clarendon Hills in time for Fenwick High School students boarding there to reach the Riverside stop in time to catch the Fenwick shuttle at 7:15 a.m. The shuttle gets students to the private school in Oak Park in time for first period at 7:45 a.m., according to the high school’s website.
Metra revised the new schedule to include a train that will stop in Clarendon Hills at 6:47 a.m., and reach Riverside at 7:06 a.m.
In some cases, departure and arrival times were adjusted to reduce the time between trains.
Commuters who take the train from Western Springs or La Grange to Chicago now have a choice of six trains between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. As of June 11, that will go up to seven at each station, including a train that will stop at Western Springs at 6:26 a.m., and La Grange Road at 6:33 a.m. and a train that will stop at Western Springs at 8:30 a.m., get to the La Grange Road station at 8:37 a.m., arrive at Congress Park stop in Brookfield at 8:41 a.m. and run express to Union Station, arriving at 8:59 a.m.
Metra also adjusted the schedule to relieve overcrowding on some of the busiest trains and match the schedule to the actual operating conditions. Metra said it is working with the Pace suburban bus system to coordinate train and bus connections.
No changes to the weekend train schedules are planned at this time, Metra officials said.
The new safety system, called Positive Train Control, is designed to automatically stop a train if the engineer disobeys a signal or exceeds the speed limit. Before every run, the engineer must enter information about the train, such as the number of cars and the weight, and details about conditions along the route. This process is expected to take about six minutes, which will lengthen the amount of time it takes to “flip” a train from one direction to another.
The new safety system will be installed on other rail lines, such as the Rock Island and Union Pacific, later this year, and on other railways in the next two years.